The Magazine

A Wedge Too Far

The immigration issue didn't work.

Nov 20, 2006, Vol. 12, No. 10 • By TAMAR JACOBY
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Will Republicans learn from this? Will the country? The results of the 2006 midterms are not a mandate for comprehensive reform--far from it. Still, they point the way toward change, opening the political space for better, more pragmatic policy by proving that it can be defended on Election Day. Randy Graf once boasted foolishly that if he couldn't win in Arizona, he couldn't win anywhere. And by the same token, if immigration pragmatists can triumph in Phoenix and Tucson, they should be able to win in any state.

It will still take a bipartisan majority to pass immigration reform. Democrats and Republicans will still have to compromise to get it done. And this may or may not happen in the 110th Congress. But one thing is clear and must be fixed: The Republican party has maneuvered itself onto the wrong side of the immigration issue. What it--and the country--needs is for reformers like President Bush and Sen. McCain to take up the issue again and rescue the GOP from the restrictionist corner it has backed itself into.

Tamar Jacoby is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute.